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Time Out Market set to showcase Cape Town’s culinary stars when it opens next month

Time Out Market set to showcase Cape Town’s culinary stars when it opens next month
The Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town. (Photo: David Silverman / Getty Images)

The globally successful Time Out Market promises to be a major food and tourism boost for the city.

The Time Out Market at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is scheduled to open after an extensive strip-out and refurbishment on 17 November — ahead of what is expected to be a bumper summer season for the Western Cape.

The new market will open at the site of the V&A Waterfront’s failed Food Market, which finally perished on 22 January. 

Traders complained that the Food Market was closing at the height of the high season — their first “good” season in years — in favour of the sought-after international brand that will house restaurants, bars and cultural experiences in an upmarket food hall environment. 

The Food Market, however, was in desperate need of a revamp because a lack of investment from the managing company, which had been leasing the premises from the Waterfront, caused the venue to become stale, less profitable for vendors and less enticing to visitors. Most Food Market vendors could not be accommodated elsewhere due to a lack of available space at the Waterfront. 

The Time Out Market is a global media and entertainment company, which opened its first market in Lisbon in 2014, with other markets opening in 2019 in Boston, Chicago, New York and Montreal, and Dubai in 2021. Cape Town is its seventh market, with Porto and Bahrain to follow soon. 

Russ Meyer, the general manager of Time Out Market Cape Town, and Donald Kau, the communications manager of the V&A Waterfront, gave Daily Maverick an exclusive tour of the new market on Wednesday.

The market, inside the Pump House (and conjoined Power Station) — a heritage site that dates back to 1892 — has been stripped and completely refurbished, with a “sizeable” but unquantified investment in the property, which includes state-of-the-art and independently operated kitchens, hi-tech equipment and soft furnishings.

Time Out Market Cape Town will offer 13 home-grown culinary concepts, cocktail bars, the Woodstock Brewery and the Culture Wine Bar over 2,787 square metres of floor space, which includes a mezzanine level and outdoor seating.

“We’ve got some brand partners that we feel fit the landscape in Cape Town and South Africa, in particular, so they have invested heavily into local businesses within the area,” Meyer said.

“We want to focus on the local gems that we have in the city — the guys that are up-and-coming that we feel will get to that award-winning status. Big on flavour and big on heritage. We are catering to the diverse audience that we are expecting.”

With celebrated chefs alongside up-and-coming stars, halaal offerings, craft brewers, a curated wine experience and cultural experiences, the Time Out Market promises to be a major food and tourism boost for the city. The venue will offer seating at communal tables, where visitors can watch chefs in action.

‘Affordable prices’

Kau said “Waterfront prices” are a myth: all vendors and retailers are required to charge in line with their outlets elsewhere. And the market will focus on fine dining at “affordable prices”.

What’s that? 

Meyer explained: “At Time Out Market, we celebrate the best local talent from award-winning to up-and-coming, giving guests a local experience that is exciting and diverse yet accessible. 

“At our market, you get to pick, for example, one dish from a top chef, whereas at a restaurant you might choose a menu with several courses, so it’s a great way to get to know a variety of chefs. You will be able to order starters from R80 and mains from R120.”

The market aimed to showcase Cape Town’s culinary talents, with a diverse range of award-winning chefs and local gems.

These include:

  • Famed chef Peter Tempelhoff (of FYN, the winner of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award 2023, and Cape Town’s hottest ramen eatery, Ramenhead) is opening sushi concept Sushiya (meaning “sushi shop”), in partnership with chef Shin Takagi of the two-star Michelin restaurant Zeniya in Kanazawa, Japan. They’re focusing on predominantly sustainable small-scale suppliers in the Cape, organic farms and — where unavoidable — small-scale suppliers in Japan. The sushi rice used is grown in Shin’s native Ishikawa by fourth-generation rice growers and aged for up to two years.
  • Bertus Basson is opening another De Vrije Burger, with meat supplied by Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. Basson and Fenner have developed their own recipes for the burgers, which promise to be “super big” on flavour, with fresh buns baked on site.
  • Innovative chef John van Zyl (previously of Chef’s Warehouse and Thali), of the Melting Pot at Oak Valley Estate in Elgin, will be opening a sustainable seafood branch; Vusi Ndlovu — whose pop-up had a hugely successful run at the Belmond Mount Nelson — will focus on African open-fire cooking; and Matt van den Berg and Carla Schulze will be creating Taiwan-inspired bao at How Bao Now.
  • Hitesh Panchal of Kapoochka — previously in the V&A’s Makers Landing food incubator — is bringing halaal Indian street food with a contemporary twist. His menu will once again feature savoury pani puri (a crispy hollow ball filled with potato, lentils, three chutneys and a spiced water), meats cooked in the tandoori oven, and dessert puris. Panchal was offered a 12-month residency by Time Out Market Cape Town as part of a programme for upcoming Makers Landing businesses.
  • The Yard, from the crew at Pizza Warehouse and Dog’s Bollocks, will be turning out their award-winning and honest-to-God gorgeous pizzas as well as chicken wings, with what is described diplomatically as their “eclectic and entertaining service expression”.

Another two “highly acclaimed” chefs will be joining the market, with the announcement expected in coming weeks.

The market will have three bars with premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, an all-day brunch eatery and ice cream from Unframed — a vendor from the old Food Market.

Time Out Cape Town is the first in Africa, Meyer noted. “We’re incredibly proud to be able to open. For us, the focus is to produce and launch a market that is on a global level.”

All the markets around the world are connected, but each has a unique DNA, he said. 

“It focuses on the culture and on the food and beverage offering within that city. So when we open on the 17th of November, we’re expecting our audience to come in and experience the best of the city.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Gustav Bertram says:

    This article reads like a narrative being pushed by the Waterfront and the new international owners of the space – that the old market was failing, that the new one is diverse, and that this is about local business and boosting tourism.

    However, those smaller traders suffering from “lack of investment” and “reduced profits” are probably suffering much more from their current “no profits”. Remember, most traders were not able to relocate elsewhere in the waterfront.

    Instead, we’re inviting an international company to take profits out of the country, and they are only pushing the very most successful local chefs, an astonishing proportion of which appears to be white males rather than the “diverse” group the marketing is claiming. Where the Karen Dudleys? Where the Margot Janses? Where the shisa nyama and morogo?

    Make no mistake, this is not about boosting tourism for the city, or investing in local business, it’s about what is most profitable for the international brand.

  • alexsutherland23 says:

    That’s a whole lot of men in that menu. 🙄.

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